Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Sacrament of Confirmation

May 17, 2022
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
Colleyville, TX

Isaiah 11:1-4ab
Psalm 22:23-24ab, 26-27, 28, 31-32
1 Corinthians 12:4-13
John 14:15-17

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.”

This is the Gospel that we live joyfully because it gives us the only path to eternal life. To love Christ means to keep His Commandments by what we do and not just by what we say. It is not enough to simply like Jesus Christ. It is also not even enough to follow His teachings. We must love Him as He asks us to love Him — as His friends and not as slaves. The gifts of the Holy Spirit that Christ imparts to you do not simply allow you to admire or to like Jesus. They do not merely enable you to follow His teachings from a safe distance. They give you the grace to love Him as a faithful friend — which includes the integrity and courage to stand with Him and if necessary to be persecuted with Him and for Him.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit that you will receive in abundance tonight will bring peace: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts bring you into the mission of salvation of souls entrusted by Christ to His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church for which He died. The Holy Spirit’s gifts enlighten your minds and strengthen your will with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ, that you might see the world in truth, challenge the world with fortitude, and embrace the world with love as Christ loved it.

By being confirmed tonight the Holy Spirit gives you the grace to accept the responsibility of being Jesus’ friend in sharing this friendship with others by loving your neighbor as yourself, by being honest, and by keeping the Commandments and living as a friend of Jesus amidst very hostile circumstances in today’s world. For example, as you and your parents go about preparation for your college education and visit almost any university campus, including some Catholic universities, this is likely what you will find: intellectual incoherence that there is no such thing as truth, moral degradation proposing that persons exist to be used as objects for selfish exploitation, intolerance of authentic freedom of thought and speech, overt racism and the deliberate inciting of hatred among people of different races, gender ideology masking itself as science, abortion promoted as an essential human right and a positive good, a frenzy for social anarchy, and growing persecution of Christianity at the very center of the institutional life of a university.

All of this is enforced with ruthless efficiency by teachers and administrators who have pledged their lives to the proposition that nothing is true and who by all available means will seek to persuade or coerce you to repudiate the alleged superstitions of your childhood, beginning with your Catholic faith and including the indispensable role of the family for peace in society. In some form and to some degree, this same disintegration is at work in every institution of our national life, including the armed forces and our national intelligence agencies.

We are entering a dark time when unrighteousness is celebrated as freedom and blasphemy and sacrilege are taken as marks of sophistication, when the activists for these views demand not our respect and tolerance but our moral and spiritual capitulation through intimidation and outright violence; and where public figures of great responsibility are no longer willing to admit publicly the biological difference between men and women let alone the purpose and dignity of marriage between one man and one woman as the anchor of society. We must admit that Christian civilization is of the past, and now those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God are openly derided as unenlightened bigots. You are faced with the decision to be persecuted with Jesus as a friend or to capitulate and join His persecutors for the sake of fitting in for earthly and ephemeral success.

Yet, by God’s grace, you know the Truth. The Spirit of Truth, who is rejected by the fallen world remains in you and will be in you. You are confirmed tonight into this truth as friends of Christ. It is precisely into the darkness of our current society and to those blinded by the darkness that you are sent by Jesus with love as His friends with His light and the fullness of the truth to keep His Commandments and to introduce Him as a friend to those harmed by these destructive ideologies. Tonight, you are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the confidence that comes from knowing that “there are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit, there are different forms of service but the same Lord.”

When I anoint your forehead with chrism, that is perfumed and consecrated oil, take time to breathe in the sweet aroma of holiness, the holiness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the holiness of the Commandments, and the holiness of friendship with Christ. Do not reject His friendship by joining the gangs who persecute Him and who persecute His friends in the world of today. Remember His invitation to you, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.”

%d bloggers like this: